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Us 43, Grassley 20, United States 19, Michigan 18, Vawa 16, Mr. Leahy 15, North Carolina 11, U.s. 11, Carl Levin 8, Leahy 7, Levin 7, Madam 6, Minnesota 6, Blumenthal 5, Mrs. Hagan 5, Georges 5, Illinois 5, Ohio 5, Maryland 5, Texas 4,
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  CSPAN    U.S. Senate    News/Business.  

    February 7, 2013
    12:00 - 5:00pm EST  

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well as the press accounts that i have related the new york geese story to d. to als, to alt of the record. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. murkowski: with that, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from north carolina. mrs. hagan: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the time until 2:00 p.m. be equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees, and that following the swearing in for our new senator, that i be recognized and that following my remarks senator franken be recognized. sproeup is there objection? -- the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mrs. hagan: mr. president, i ask for quorum call. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. reid: mr. president? the vice president: the majority leader. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the call of the quorum be terminated. the vice president: the chair
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lays before the senate a certificate of appointment to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of senator john kerry of massachusetts. the certificate the chair is advised is in the form suggested by the senate. if there is no objection, the reading of the certificate will be waived and it will be printed in full in the record. if the senator-designee will now present himself at the desk, the chair will administer the oath of office. the vice president: please
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raise your right hand. do you solemnly swear that you will support and defend the constitution of the united states against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that you will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that you take this oath of obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that you will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which you are about to enter, so help you god? mr. cowan: i do so help me god. the vice president: congratulations, senator. welcome.
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mrs. hagan: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from north carolina. mrs. hagan: mr. president, i certainly do wish to congratulate our north carolina native on his new role as a u.s.
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senator from massachusetts. mr. president, i am proud to join my colleagues today in support of the violence against women act of 2013. i do so not just as a senator but as a mother of two daughters. this critical legislation has been held up for far too long, and it's past time for reauthorization. we have a serious responsibility to ensure that women and families are protected. the rates of violence and abuse in our country are astounding and totally unacceptable. according to a 2010c.d.c. study, domestic violence affects more than 12 million people each year. across the united states, 15 1/2 million children lives in homes in which domestic violence has occurred. and in my home state of north carolina alone, 73 women and children are killed on average every year because of domestic violence. let me say that number one more
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time. 73 women and children are killed every year due to domestic violence. these are alarming statistics, and we must act now to address them. since 1994, vawa programs, and in particular the stop program, that provides grants for services, training, officers and prosecutors, have made tremendous progress in helping victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and have transformed our criminal justice system and victim support services. these grants have assisted law enforcement and prosecutors in tracking down perpetrators and bringing them to justice. they have also saved countless lives and provided needed services to victims of these violent acts. in one instance -- the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. please carry your conversations
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into the cloakroom or off the floor. mrs. hagan: mr. president, in one instance in my state, a man was on pretrial release after being charged with stalking his wife. thanks to this stop grant funding, he was being monitored electronically and he was caught violating the conditions of his release when he went to his estranged wife's home. the supervising officer was immediately notified of this violation, and police officers found the man with the help of g.p.s. and arrested him in his estranged wife's driveway. so because of this vawa program, we have one less victim in my staeufplt this is -- in my state. this is one example of how vawa is protecting women and saving lives. title 5 of this bill includes legislation that i sponsored in the last congress: the violence against women help initiative act, which updates and improves the health care system's response to domestic violence and sexual assault. my provision is simple.
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it provides training and education to help the health care professionals respond to violence and abuse by equipping doctors and nurses to recognize the signs of domestic abuse and to make sure that they have the training to respond, we can better care for our survivors and prevent future crimes. it also consolidates existing programs to streamline and strengthen the health care system's response to violent crimes. since my time in the north carolina state senate, i have been dedicated to reducing the backlog of unanalyzed rape kits. this bill includes the bipartisan safer act, which helps fund audits of untested d.n.a. evidence and reduce this backlog of rape kits. before my efforts in the state senate, what used to happen in north carolina and continues to happen today in many states is that a woman would be raped, she
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would go to the hospital, d.n.a. would be collected, and then placed in a box, and then that box would go and sit on a shelf in a police department or in a sheriffs department, totally unanalyzed unless the woman could identify who attacked her. i ask you what other victims in america have to identify the attacker before authorities will take action? none. when i first brought this issue to the forefront, i was told there was not enough money for all of these rape kits to be tested. well, we found that funding in north carolina, and now with the help of the safer act, our local law enforcement agencies will have the ability to track and prioritize their untested d.n.a. evidence to ensure that victims can find their perpetrators, hold them accountable, and we can remove violent criminals from the streets. unfortunately, until congress acts to reauthorize the violence against women act, the
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well-being of women across the country hangs in the balance. this bill has never been a partisan football, and there is no reason it should be today. i hope that we will pass this bill swiftly and without further disputes. we must ensure this bill's passage for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking not only in north carolina, but around the country. finally, i do want to thank the north carolina coalition against sexual assault, the north carolina coalition against domestic violence, and north carolina's state and local law enforcement agencies who have truly been leaders in combatting this problem. and i applaud them for all of the work that they have done to reduce and address the incidents of domestic violence and sexual assault. and i'm grateful for the work they do every day on the front lines of this issue. so i'm asking my colleagues to join me in moving the violence
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against women reauthorize act through the senate swiftly and without further delay. millions of victims across the country are waiting for us to enact this lifesaving legislation, and we simply cannot wait any longer. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. franken: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. mr. franken: thank you, mr. president. last spring just before the senate passed the violence against women reauthorization act, i came to the floor to share some words from my late dear friend, sheila wellstone, whose commitment to ending domestic violence is an ever lasting source of inspiration to my wife frannie, and to me. i share with my colleagues something sheila said, which was
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this. sheila said, "i have chosen to focus on domestic violence because i find it appalling that a woman's home can be the most dangerous, the most violent and in fact the most deadly place for her. and if she is a mother, it is dangerous for her children. it's time that we tell the secret. it's time that we all come together to work toward the ending -- toward ending the violence." mr. president, sheila's words rang true in her time but they've perhaps never running more true than they do today. it's time we all come together to work toward ending the violence. we pass the vawa -- we passed the vawa reauthorization act in the senate last april but the house did not let it go to the
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president for signature and enactment so we are back here today voting on the bill again. because those of us who believe in vawa will continue to fight for the bill's passage until it's signed into law. i encourage my colleagues, both in the senate and in the house, to come together to work toward ending the violence and support this bill. the bill's managers, judiciary committee chairman pat leahy and senator mike crapo, have demonstrated remarkable resolve and leadership. we are all grateful for that, and i'd like to thank them as well for inviting notice author two parts of the -- inviting me to author two parts of the vawa reauthorization bill which i'd like to describe briefly. first, the vawa reauthorization act includes provisions from the justice for survivors of sexual
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assault act. we just heard senator hagan talk about an aspect of that. this is one of the first bills that i introduced after being sworn into the senate. when this bill becomes law, never again will survivors of sexual assault suffer the indignity of paying for the forensic medical exams, the rape kit. you see, vawa provides states -- state and local governments with funding to administer these exams which are used to collect evidence in sexual assault cases. the problem is that under current law, grant recipients can charge the survivor, the victim, for the upfront cost of administering the exam, leaving
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her to seek reimbursement later. too often, survivors get lost in a maze of paperwork and they aren't reimbursed. under my bill, grant recipients will be able to charge insurance companies or victims' assistance funds or other sources but they cannot change the survivor. i believe that survivors of sexual violence have endured enough already. they should not have to pay for rape kits and they won't have to once this bill is passed and signed by the president and becomes law. second, the vawa reauthorization bill includes the housing rights for victims of domestic and sexual violence act, legislation that i introduced with senator collins and senator mikulski in the fall of 2011.
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this bill will help women stay in their homes when they are the most vulnerable, when they need a roof over their heads the most. the link between violence and homelessness is undeniable. by one account, nearly 40% of women who experience domestic violence will become homeless at some point in their lives. and once a woman becomes homeless, she becomes even more vulnerable to physical or sexual abuse. in my state, nearly 1-3 homeless women is fleeing domestic violence, and half of those women have children with them. have children with them. that's unacceptable. frannie and i have visited battered women's shelters and i have to tell you, it's heartbreaking. they're crowded.
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they're full. and a lot of mothers are there with their kids. and on a bitter cold minnesota night, these women often have nowhere to go, and transitional housing is really important. if a woman has a choice between going out on a cold winter night in minnesota or maybe going back to her abuser and exposing children to that, that's wrong. so this can be heartbreaking. but there's something heartwarming, too, about seeing people come to each other's aid in times of need. and that's what the people who run the shelters do every day.
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the staff for advocates for family peace in ataska county, the minnesota coalition for battered women, the kasa de espiranza and the many other advocacy groups across my state talk to these folks about vawa. they'll tell you what it means for women in minnesota. it means nights spent under a roof instead of in a tent or in a car or on the street, or, even worse, having to go back to live with her abuser. and exposing her children to that danger, to that -- to witnessing that violence. we need these shelters and transitional housing programs for women who are fleeing danger, and the vawa
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reauthorization bill provides continued support for these programs. my housing rights legislation provides additional support. it is a preventive measure that is intended to keep women from becoming homeless in the first place. my bill will make it unlawful to evict a woman from federally subsidized housing just because she is a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking. a woman may be living away from her abuser in federal housing and the abuser comes and knocks down the door and the landlord will say, well, let's evict her. under my bill, that can't happen in federally subsidized housing. this bill is for every woman who has hesitated to call the police to enforce a protective order because she was afraid that
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she'd be evicted from her home if she did so. so, mr. president, the vawa reauthorization act is -- is a crucial bill. it is a good bill. it's an important bill. and i encourage my colleagues to support it. and, mr. president, i would ask unanimous consent that these letters from professional medical organizations in support of s. 47, the violence against women act, be included in the "congressional record." the presiding officer: without objection. mr. franken: i thank you, and i yield the floor. mr. cornyn: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: mr. president, in my previous life, i was attorney general of the state of texas, and in that capacity had the opportunity to work with numerous victim rights groups, primarily because part of my
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responsibility, the office's responsibility, was to administer the crime victims compensation fund, which took a small portion of the fees paid by criminal defendants who were convicted of crimes or pled guilty to crimes and put it into a fund that could be used then to help victims. as attorney general of texas, i became a supporter of the crime victims' rights community and their interests as well as the violence against women act. this is really an important point. isn't isince it was first enactn 1994, the violence against women act has been reauthorized on two separate occasions, each time by unanimous vote of the united states senate. let me say that again. on the two previous occasions that the senate has voted to reauthorize the violence against women act, it has been unanimo
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unanimous, no differences between democrats and republicans, we were all together in supporting this legislation. for that reason, i hope that members of both parties will think long and hard before turning this critical law into just another vehicle for scoring political points or bowing to special interests instead of the public interest. i'm enormously proud and grateful that this bill contains a version of the safer act which i first introduced last year with strong bipartisan support. i had the privilege of meeting several extraordinary texas women, including carol bart, lena frost and levenia masters, all of whom decided to go public with their story in hopes of helping other victims of sexual
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assault. it's been a moving experience. and i'm delighted that our bill and our effort via the safer act, to address the untested rape kit scandal in this country, is so close to the finish line. why is this legislation so important? well, right now there are as many as 400,000 -- 400,000 -- untested rape kits sitting in police evidence lockers or labs across the nation. each one of these rape kits, which is a sample of d.n.a. which could then be used to match up against a f.b.i. database to make an identification of a sexual assailant, right now 400,000 of them, it's estimated -- we really don't know the exact number -- are sitting in evidence lockers and police storage facilities all across the nation. each one of these kits has the potential to solve a crime, to
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identify a rapist and deliver justice for a victim. the safer act would help law enforcement officials reduce that backlog of untested rape kits and improve public safety. indeed, it will help -- it would help us address what can only be considered a national scandal. it would help bring peace of mind to rape victims and it would help get dangerous criminals off the street before they commit another crime again. that's why the safer act has been endorsed by a wide range of victims' advocacy groups, such as the rape, abuse and incest national networks and the national alliance to end sexual violence, the fraternal order of police, and the national organization for women. and that's why we're so eager to see this legislation become law. but beyond the safer act, the
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violence against women act provides funding for shelters, counseling programs, legal services that helps ensure that our justice system leaves no victim behind. for all these reasons, we can and we must rethinks that the violence against -- reauthorize the violence against women act. and as we've done so on previous occasions, we should do so with overwhelming bipartisan support. and we could easily do that. unfortunately, the underlying bill also contains a separate provision that is blatantly unconstitutional. it would deny u.s. citizens their full constitutional protections under the bill of rights in tribal courts. needless to say, this is a big problem but it's also a solvable problem. i've drafted an amendment that would allow native american tribes to prosecute u.s.
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citizens for domestic violence as long as those tribes followed the constitution and allowed all convictions to be appealed in the federal court system. this amendment is a sensible compromise and i have discussed it with all of the various organizations that are interested in the passage of the reauthorization of the violence against women act. we've negotiated in good faith. but unfortunately, that good-faith effort to try to find a solution has run into a brick wall of opposition and the chairman has decided to not change the controversial language that would deny certain americans full protection of the bill of rights. what i can't understand is, why would anyone want to pick a political fight and not find a
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solution if a solution is at hand and it makes so much sense? once again i passionately support the safer act, and i'm grateful that that provision, at long last, is included in this law, which will allow us to address that national scandal of hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits. this is a bill that could do so much good in the battle for victims' rights, but, unfortunately, it's been held hostage by a single provision that would take away fundamental constitutional rights for certain american citizens. and, for what? for what? in order to satisfy the unconstitutional demands of special interests. now, i remain hopeful that we could eventually come to a compromise that upholds the constitution. if not, here in the senate, then
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in a conference committee between the house of representatives and the senate as we reconcile the differences between the two bills passed by each house. but for now, i cannot in good conscience vote for a about i will that violates the united states -- for a bill that violates the united states constitution. i cannot in good conscience and in fidelity to my oath of office vote for a provision that i know is unconstitutional. i will, however, vote for the alternative bill that is being offered by senator grassley that eliminates this unconstitutional provision, which reauthorizes the violence against women act, and which contains the safer act that addresses this backlog of untested rape kits. mr. president, i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the pending quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: thank you. may i ask unanimous consent to speak in morning business for up to 15 minutes? the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: thank you. by the way, what a pleasure it is to see the new senator presiding. mr. president, i rise every week on this senate floor to talk about the dangers of carbon pollution to our atmosphere and
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to our oceans. this week i want to preface my remarks by talking about america and her role in the world. i can use some very well-known words to make my point, from john winthrop to ronald reagan, we have described our great american experiment as a city on a hill. indeed, our hymn, "america the beautiful," sings about our alabaster cities gleam. president kennedy's inaugural address said that the glow from our fire can truly light the world. and a generation later president
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obama's first inaugural noted that our ideals still light the world. we americans, we've described ourselves as a beacon of hope, a light in the darkness, our lamp lifted up in welcome and in example. daniel webster years ago said that our founders set the world an example. that was what the founding of america meant. our founders set the world an example. president clinton has pointed out that the power of our example -- the power of that example in the world has always been greater than any example of our power.
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that was the way bill clinton described it. and when daniel webster said that our founding fathers had set before the world an example, he went on to say this -- and i quote -- "the last hopes of mankind therefore rest with us. and if it should be proclaimed that our example had become an argument against the experiment, the knell of popular liberty would be sounded throughout the earth." i've spoken before about this small globe of ours, the light of dawn sweeping each morning across its face, lighting cities and cottages, barrios and
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villages. and across the globe's face, people coming forth from homes and hovels into that morning sun. each knowing from our american example that life does not have to be the way it is for them, knowing that an example of liberty and self-government stands free before them. that america stands as an alternative and a rebuke to the tyranny, to the corruption, or to the injustice in which they may be admired. so, like many of my colleagues, i believe that america has a special destiny in the world.
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america's special destiny does not come easy and it does not come alone. america's special destiny confers upon us a special duty. what is that duty? that duty is to live up to our own example, to see to it that our lamp gleams brightly, to be the promise that each dawn america offers this small globe. so let's look at climate change in that light. what if our carbon pollution is in fact changing the planet?
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what if in fact we know this -- we know this to any reasonable degree of responsible certainty? and what if knowing this, we do nothing? and what if the reason we do nothing is the influence of special interests who profit from that very pollution or the groundless ideology of a fringe? what sort of example is that for america to set? how does that meet our special duty? how does that advance our
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special destiny? look at what other continents and nations will experience, particularly those that have not enjoyed the economic development we achieved through our carbon economy. start in africa, where temperatures are expected to increase faster than the rest of the world. rainfall patterns are also expected to change, decreasing in some areas, increasing in others. floods, droughts and new crop diseases linked to changes in temperature and rainfall will hurt african farmers in a continent where subsistence farming is still so important to so many individuals' way of life. research shows that production of crops, such as maize, a core staple in africa, will decrease
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by 30% over the next 20 years due to climate change. more frequent and severe extreme weather will have dire consequences there. we saw just a few weeks ago the worst flood in a decade killing at least 38 people in mozambique and leaving 150,000 homeless. parts of russia have warmed between 3.5 degrees and 5.5 degrees farenheit in the last century, leading to the loss of permafrost. russians, like alaskans, who i spoke about before, build homes and roads and infrastructure on the permafrost. when it disappears, communities lose the very foundations on which they are built. noaa says the russian heat wave of 2010, which killed tens of thousands of people, was the
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most severe since records were first kept back in 1880. and this type of heat wave is now more and more likely. go to the land down under where warmer and more acidic oceans have fueled a widespread coral bleaching in the great barrier reef. the great barrier reef is a natural wonder. it is one of the great wonders of the world. and economically, it's the basis of a $4 billion tourism industry in australia. and it is dying before our eyes. scientists say that climate change heightens the devastation from other natural disasters in australia, like the 2009 bush fires that claimed 173 lives, the 2011 flooding that killed
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dozens, and the wildfires that have already damaged hundreds of homes and displaced thousands of australians this year. europe is getting hotter with increased risk of summertime droughts in central europe and in the mediterranean. tree lines creep higher in european mountain ranges, glaciers in central europe shrink. alpine ski areas have been forced to adapt to higher temperatures and less snow. south america has been warming and glaciers in the andes are retreating at an increasing rate. i have a symbol of that retreat in my office. lonnie thompson of ohio state university and clark we weaver f nasa loaned me this artifact.
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it's a piece of a plant that has been preserved under the calcaya ice cap in peru for at least 5,200 years. more than 3,000 years before jesus christ walked the earth, this plant was overcovered by glacier and has stayed that way ever since. now, thanks to glacial retreat, that piece of plant which was preserved by the weight and cold of the glacier, is in my office. closer to home, in canada, a tropical fungus that causes lung disease and meningitis has been discovered. scientists think that the deadly yeast likely came to vancouver island in ballast water from ships.
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but now -- now it can survive there because of higher temperatures. in the arctic, we're losing sea ice, permafrost, glaciers and ice sheets. arctic sea ice is shrinking at about 5% per decade, and with that shrinkage, there is less ice to reflect sunlight back into space, more heat is captured, and the warming accelerates. at this rate, arctic summers will be ice-free within decades. for the united states, that means new arctic waterways to defend and expanded theater of operations in the arctic and increased competition for arctic resources. wherever you look around this globe, climate change changes habitats, changes where plants can grow, and loads the dice for
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more frequent and more severe extreme weather: heat waves, droughts, floods, and storms creating victims and refugees who require humanitarian relief. the poorest nations, those least prepared to weather natural disasters, will suffer the most. those nations will look to us and to the rest of the developed world for help. and they will not look to us for help without reason. the united states is responsible for one-quarter of all industrial-age carbon pollution in the world. today we no longer emit the most carbon dioxide. china has passed us. but we have emitted the most over time. nations all over the world have implemented carbon reduction plans. some have implemented carbon pricing. many invest far more than we do
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in renewable energy. the united states is falling behind rather than leading. even china, today's biggest polluter, recently committed to reduce the amount of carbon it emits relative to its economic output. and in 2009, china surpassed the united states of america in renewable energy investment. looking at all of that, it is hard to imagine that those who will suffer, those who will be displaced, those who will lose their ancient livelihoods all around the world will look benevillbenevolently upon our n. it is hard to believe that they will not resent that they are forced to bear those burdens as the price of our carbon economy.
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one can readily imagine extremists who wish to rally disenchanted people against us, even to violence against us, finding fertile opportunity where that resentment festers. will it not be? as daniel webster said, an argument against our experiment? will it not be an argument against our experiment that our democracy, our great american democracy, seized in the grip of polluting special interests or fringe political ideology was unable to respond to the facts around us to protect ourselves and our world? and won't there be ready ears easy to fill with that argument
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against our experiment? among those who have been uprooted from traditional hopes and livelihoods -- homes and livelihoods or among those whose homes and livelihoods have been disturbed by climate refugees? mr. president, destiny means duty. destiny means duty, and we are failing in that duty. it is time for us to wake up in this moment to that duty. we can expect in the long and blessed future of this country to have to face unpleasant facts, facts more unpleasant than the facts of carbon pollution and climate change and ocean acidification. we have done this before, and
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with god's help, we will do it again. but now, if we can't bring ourselves to our senses now in this moment in our day and hour to wake up and face these facts, what a terrible admission that is by this generation of americans. stand we a chance of being looked back at as a greatest generation, if we fail to address this greatest issue facing our planet? lord acton noted, "the undying
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penalty which history has the power to inflict on wrong." truly, that penalty will be inflicted on us, on our generation, if we do not awaken to these plain facts and to our plain duty. i thank the presiding officer. i see that the distinguished chairman of the judiciary committee is nearby and may well seek the floor with respect to the violence against women act, so i will yield. and until he returns, i will note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. leahy: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the call of the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: mr. president, i was here to open the national this morning when -- the senate this morning when we went on s. 47. we've had some wonderful speeches. i know senator murray and shaheen, begich, udall, murkowski, hagan, franken spoke ivery strongly in favor of the bill. i also note that this bill
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passed overwhelmingly last year. i understand that there may be some that for convenience's sake would prefer we vote a different day or not, while we're really elected here to vote "yes" or "no" on things. and i wish we could just get ahead on their amendments and vote them up-or-down. i appreciate those senators who were going to bring amendments, have told me they are not going to, have been very, very helpful in doing that. we got to get this bill passed. but i notice that the ranking republican member of the judiciary committee made a statement today in which i take some hope. the senator from iowa indicated that this measure could have been enacted last year. well, i join that. i wish it had. the senate voted with a strong
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majority to do so. republicans and democrats joined together. i did everything i could, including reaching out to the republican speaker of the house, to make it happen. and i am sorry that the republican leadership in the house decided not to bring it up. it is a bipartisan amendment. it is supported by both republicans and democrats in the senate, people who were more concerned about doing what they could to stop violence against women than they might have been about which party gains a position one way or the other. this is not a partisan issue. it is not a partisan issue. it is the leahy-crapo bill. we have -- there are key sponsors, one democrat, one republican. we tried to make sure it is not a conservative or liberal bill but a commonsense bill, and it is -- it is one to stop violence
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against women o women. it is as simple as that. and we try make it clear that we consider anybody who has been subjected to such violence to be a victim. we don't pick and choose whether it is native americans or this group or that group. it's -- a victim is a victim is a victim. and if they've suffered, we should be doing the steps necessary to help. now, i am not going to respond to all -- there will be another time for this -- all that was said by the ranking member. but i do want to correct the notion that i have abandoned my efforts for visas to help law enforcement men and women. every law enforcement agency
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that i have talked with said that they would be much helped in stopping violence against immigrant women if they had this increase in so-called u-visas. i remain committed to these provisions. we will have immigration reform this year i'm sure, and this should be part of it. and i'm hoping that those who've raised questions about u-visas on the violence against women act would join me to put them in the immigration bill. i am encouraged that we have 62 cosponsors in both parties. i'm disappointed that some senators who say, well, this should have passed last year, voted against it last year and are still opposing it.
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i know there's going to be a republican stiewrkt substitute,i hope will be brought up very soon. and after a vote on that i hope they will join us and support violence against women act reauthorization. mr. president, this could have happened last year. senator kay bailey hutchison had an alternative. she was given a vote on it. her alternative did not pass, but she felt strongly, as did so many others, that we should pass the violence against women act, even though her substitute had been defeated. she joined with us and voted for the bill. i praised her at the time. i praise her today. so let -- you know, it's -- i'm ready for amendments coming up. if people really have amendments that they really want voted on,
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let's bring them up. let's have a short time, and then vote on it. but think of the image we send that we all stand here talking about how we want to vote on this bill, but the other side is not prepared to vote. well, it's time to vote. it's time to vote. we're not doing anything. what we're doing is we're voting "maybe." i think the american people want a little more gumption from 100 united states senators. they'd like us to vote "yes" or "no." not "maybe." i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum quorum quorum call:
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ms. klobuchar: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. ms. klobuchar: mr. president, i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. klobuchar: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i spoke earlier today about the importance of passing the violence against women act, about how this has been a longtime bipartisan bill back to 1994 when the late senator paul wellstone was involved in this bill as well as vice president biden, when people came together and said we have to do something about domestic violence. this is no longer a hidden crime behind closed doors. you know what we've seen since then? we've seen a 50% reduction. a 50% reduction in domestic violence in this country. that is a victory. and we do not want to go backwards. and, unfortunately, the bill that has been submitted by
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senator grassley, the substitute amendment, i believe would take us backwards. and let me explain why. first of all, we all know that the vawa reauthorization bill, months of negotiation between the two lead authors, senator leahy, the chairman of the judiciary committee; and senator crapo. it has bipartisan consensus and was drafted after months of input from numerous stakeholders. unfortunately, the grassley substitute doesn't do a lot of things that are so important to us in this violence against women bill. this is not an acceptable substitute. first of all, for me, one of the most important pieces of this bill, while much of it is consistent with past policy, violence against women act, there were some tkhaepbgz we found necessary -- changes we found necessary to match the times. one was a growing probably -- problem of tribal domestic
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problems. it is unfortunately, mr. president, an epidemic. four out of five perpetrators of domestic on tribal lands are nonindian and currently cannot be prosecuted by tribal governments. the only way is to have u.s. attorney's office comes in and they do a lot of good work. my u.s. attorney's office has done great work historically through several administrations with our tribal communities. but these cases should be able to be prosecuted not only by u.s. attorneys, but also by tribal governments. the leahy-crapo vawa reauthorization bill builds on the protections for indian women by recognizing tribe's authority to prosecute nonindians who commit domestic violence against their indian spouses or dating partners. let me say this was narrowly tailored for these acts of domestic violence with specific requirements. the grassley proposal, unfortunately, does not provide the tribes the authority to enforce laws against domestic violence on their own lands.
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it also takes money away he from other justice department grant programs to install judges and prosecutors on tribal lands. bringing in large numbers of federal officials goes against the local solutions to domestic violence that vawa successfully promoted. federal judges and prosecutors already, as i pointed out, have authority to handle cases on tribal lands. and this has not stemmed the plague of violence against indian women. that is why -- that's what you do with reauthorizations. that why you don't have bills go ongoing forever. you have reauthorizations to try to address what are some issues that can make things better. here we have addressed one. while violence against women has helped so much with less domestic violence in this country, we still see incredibly tragic numbers twhe comes to domestic -- when it comes to domestic violence against american indian women. that is why we made these
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changes. it allowed us a reauthorization to adjust. while the grassley proposal allows a tribe to petition a federal court for a protection order to exclude individuals from tribal land, this does not begin to address the problem of nonindian perpetrators who are not arrested, prosecuted or convicted for those heinous crimes. this is a false alternative that does almost nothing to solve the epidemic of violence against native women. another issue: there was a very careful negotiation that went on with where the funding went. we had to make cuts to funding this year in many areas, including this one, but we had a negotiation about how much of the funds would go to sexual assault, how much would go to domestic violence. the leahy-crapo vawa bill reauthorization bill includes a 20% set aside, a balance that was achieved after months of discussions with domestic violence and sexual assault service providers. the bill increases the focus on
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sexual assault without endangering domestic violence victims. it was a big deal that we got that done. and unfortunately the grassley proposal makes a change to that and really goes against the negotiation that we already had in place. finally, there is the issue with the grassley proposal on new visas. you probably heard we actually made changes to the original bill on new visas already in this negotiated bill. we were going to be able to use up visas that had been issued in prior years but not used and be able to use those numbers in the coming years. we ended up taking that out. i didn't agree with that, and i hope it's something we can address and fix in immigration reform. but unfortunately, the grassley proposal goes even further. it adds more restrictions on visas. can we stop to explain what these u visas are. this is when you have an immigrant victim of domestic violence. when i was a prosecutor for eight years we would have a
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number of cases where an immigrant was a victim, and what do you think her perpetrator did to get her to be scared to come forward? they said, we're going to deport you. if you come forward to law enforcement, you will never be able to be in this country. so what the u visas do, is to give that victim a status so that they can remain in the country and make sure this person gets prosecuted and then work on some kind of a permanent immigration status. but that's what the u visas are. i think they're a necessary component. there's been agreed on numbers for years when this bill has been reauthorized. unfortunately, as i said, the grassley proposal adds restrictions on u visas which are a law enforcement tool that help prosecute crime. the strikes put in there -- i'm -- the restrictions put in there, i'm sure senator grassley put them in there to deter fraud, but no study has indicated there is an issue here. u visas have fraudulent
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protections because law enforcement officers must certify a person is cooperating with a criminal investigation. no program is perfect. i'm sure we can work with senator grassley in the future if there is some fraud issues here. but at this point, after a year of negotiation and trying to get a bill through here, we have significant bipartisan support. it is not the time to put a substitute in. and i want to thank you very much, mr. president, for giving me this opportunity. i urge my colleagues to reject the substitute grassley amendment and embrace this bill and vote for it. it's a good bill. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: i ask consent the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: pending before the senate is the violence against women reauthorization act. we considered it over a year ago, and the bipartisan reauthorization passed the senate with 68 votes more than nine months ago. to someone who has suffered domestic violence abuse and is in need of help, it is amazing to think that what used to be an easy bipartisan issue has been tied up in the obstruction between the house and the senate since then. there's absolutely no excuse for failing to enact this legislation. now is the time to do it. we have a strong, sensible bill before us. senator leahy, the chairman of the senate judiciary committee, is guiding it on the floor. this is an interesting issue. it's an emotional issue. if you haven't had domestic
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violence in your family, you can be grateful. many people have seen it firsthand. and i don't think it's something you'll easily forget. i was invited a few years back to go to champagne, illinois, to a domestic violence shelterer and to meet with one of the victims. it was an important meeting for me. sitting across the table from a woman with two black eyes, her eyes red from crying, she could barely choke out a few words about what life had been like as a victim of domestic violence. she was humiliated by the scars that her face and body showed. and ashamed that she had reached this point in her life. she had nowhere to turn. she didn't trust anybody. she was afraid of her spouse, and she came to this domestic
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violence shelter with her child. she didn't know where to turn and they were trying to protect her, number one, and give her a chance for a better life. that's what this bill's about. it's also about a group of people that i've come to know personally and really respect in chicago. there's a group called muharris latinas inoxion. what a dynamic group. i met them 14 or 15 years ago. they were operating out of an old house in pilson, the hispanic neighborhood -- one of the hispanic neighborhoods in chicago. it was one of these beat-up old places that a lot of charities take on and hope to call home and use for their purposes. in this case, a domestic violence shelter, primarily for the hispanic neighborhood. the rooms were all packed. there were cots and diapers and
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food and all the things that you beg from your friends to sustain a family that was in need of help. and i remember going there with molly acastro -- amalio aroha acastro, and as she claimed to me what they were doing, getting people from the community. these were women, most often when children, who came in, had been victimized. it was tougher for them than for most. many of them struggled with english. many of them struggled with culture, a culture which many times is too patriarchal in these circumstances. and many of them struggled with the same embarrassment as that woman i met in champagne, illinois. but they finally realized they had no choice, they had to ask for help. and so they came to a shelter. and thank goodness those
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volunteers and people were there offering them a safe place, being willing to take on the issues of protecting this mother and her children from further abuse. they really saved a lot of lives in the process. that is what this bill's about. and it's one of the reasons why this bill hasn't passed. you see, the difference between the senate approach here and the approach in the house of representatives comes down to two or three things. but they're all three important things. one of them is if an undocumented woman, mother walks into a domestic violence shelter in this country beaten up, running from an abusive husband, holding her baby, will we help her? that's the question. well, you'd say, ordinarily, of course. but some say no, she's undocumented; we don't help those people.
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really? we don't? is that who we are in america? it isn't. of course we help her. of course we help her child. our bill said we did. the house disagreed. native american communities much more complicated. illinois -- i don't live with these tribal communities and know all of the issues associated with them, but it turns out that many times in cases of domestic violence, the tribal courts are unable, unwilling to deal with the prosecutions in a timely and effective way. and we tried in the senate version of the bill to make sure that when it came to native american populations, tribal populations, that the same protections would be there. and the house disagreed. and then, of course of course, came the question about sexual orientation. what if the abuse is not man to woman, heterosexual abuse, but something else; will that also
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be protected? the answer is yes. in the senate version of the bill, it was clearly yes. and the house disagreed. and because of those three basic disagreements, nothing's happened. i shouldn't say nothing's happened. thank goodness barbara mikulski, now chairman of the appropriation committees, chaired the subcommittee that kept funding the bill. so we kept our commitment to these violence shelters around america, but we didn't reauthorize them, we didn't put in new language, we didn't do our job. we just stopped. for a year. on a bill that shouldn't even be debated to great extent. it certainly shouldn't be partisan. according to a recent survey in the united states, 24 people every minute become victims of rape, physical violence or stalking. that means that in the time it takes me to finish this statement, dozens will have been victimized. since its passage, the violence against women act, known as vawa, has provided valuable and
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even lifesaving assistance to hundreds of thousands of people in america. the impact's profound. the bureau of justice statistics tells us the rate of domestic violence against women has dropped by more than 50% since we first enacted this bill. there aren't many pieces of legislation we can point to with that kind of track record. but there are so many more who need help. that's evident from the statistics. the centers for disease control tell us approximately 1-4 women have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner. and nearly 1-5 women have been raped. 1-5? in a study of undergraduate women, 19% have experienced an attempted or actual sexual assault while in college. altogether, more than 1-3 women have experienced rape, stalking or physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. that's a fact. the consequences are ongoing. for example, 81% of women who
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have experienced these things report significant short- or long-term impact. and the consequences can be severe. by one report in 2007, 45% of the women killed in the united states died at the hands of an intimate partner. the reauthorization ensures that funding will continue to go to the organizations and individuals who need the most help. it places increased emphasis on responding to sexual assault in addition to domestic violence. it does things liken couraging jurisdictions toy -- like encouraging jurisdictions to evaluate rape kit inventories and reduce backlogs, it incorporates important accountability mechanisms, consolidates programs and actually reduces spending. snipes it includes vital provisions to help the native american women and protect immigrant communities. a provision helping to ensure the availability of new visas for victims of crime was taken out. i'm sorry it was. it's a budget item, a constitutional item. but we want to make sure that
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other critical provisions in the bill remain, provisions that protect immigrant communities, strongly supported by those who work with them. the reauthorization also ensures that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities are not discriminated against when it comes to these services. i say this to my colleagues on both sides of the chamber, now is the time to pass the violence against women act reauthorization. our country has got to come together to make sure that all of the victims are protected. take the native american communities, for example. according to a survey of the center for disease control, four out of every ten american indian or alaska native women, four out of ten, have been victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking in their lifetime. that is unacceptable in america. a country that prides itself on commitment to human rights. this bipartisan bill is supported by victims, experts and advocates. it's supported by service providers, faith leaders and
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health care professionals, prosecutors, judges, law enforcement officials, and it ought to be supported by both chambers of congress. the last two vawa reauthorization bills have carefully expanded the scope of the law and improved it. this reauthorization's no exception. it implies lessons learned from those working in the field and renews our commitment to reducing domestic and sexual violence. we ought to listen to the people on the front lines of protecting those vulnerable populations. we should be able to pass a strong reauthorization that addresses the needs of all women. i thank senator leahy and many others in this chamber for their leadership. i want to take a moment to discuss a provision which i mentioned earlier in the bill. a troubling help society of "frontline," the pbs program that many of us watch and respect, detailed one woman's story in great detail. but that wasn't an isolated
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incident. the national prison rape elimination commission, created by congress, has said -- quote -- "as a group, immigration detainees are especially vulnerable to sexual abuse and its effects while detained. the prison rape elimination act of 2003, known as prea, was designed to eliminate sexual abuse of those in custody. it was bipartisan, championed by the late senator ted kennedy and senator sessions of alabama and i cosponsored it. prea required promulgation of national standards to prevent, detect and respond to prison rape in america. there have been questions raised about whether those standards would apply to immigration detainees. and as i've said before, when we drafted and passed prea, it was our intent it would apply to all in federal detention, including immigration detainees. i was pleased when president obama issued a memo clarifying
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that prea applies to all federal confinement facilities and directing agencies to act accordingly. i was pleased with the department of homeland security directing standards to comport with prea. secretary napolitano and i have discussed this problem of sexual assault in detention and i applaud the secretary for her strong commitment to this issue. it was critical to me to have a provision in this vawa reauthorization that clarifies that standards to prevent custodial rape must apply to immigration detainees, all immigration detainees, a provision that codifies the good work d.h.s. is now doing and ensures that strong regulations pertaining to immigration detainees will remain in place in the future. mr. president, i have visited some of these immigration detainee facilities. they are not quite prisons but almost. those who are being detained before being deported have little access to the outside. in my case, i went down to deep southern illinois, 300 miles
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from chicago-plus -- more than 300 from chicago. it was hard for them to get a telephone that they could use for access to family or attorneys. it's a pretty isolated situati situation. they are clearly in a remote place, many are treated well but many are not. custodial sexual assault is just one of the many issues addressed by this vawa bill. i urge my colleagues, let's work together and reauthorize this. if this is truly a new day after this last election, if we are truly determined to do things on a bipartisan basis, why isn't this the first thing that we do? it used to be bipartisan. it didn't even take that much time to pass it because we were all together on that. everybody understands domestic violence. if not from their family, certainly from their life experience watching what happens at these domestic violence shelters. we've had broad bipartisan support for this in the past this last year, despite chairman leahy's extraordinary efforts,
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it fell apart in the house of representatives. we want to give them another chance, a chance to get it rig right, a chance to join us in passing a bipartisan bill that we're likely to pass in this chamber. the dozens of individuals who've been victimized since i stood up here today to begin this speech need help now. this is our opportunity. let's show them that when it comes to protecting america's most vulnerable populations, we will be there. mr. president, i ask in a separate part of the record that a tribute which i have written here on behalf of a former colleague, court u coutice colla former congresswoman who recently passed away, be placed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: i yield the floor.
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the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. cardin: madam president, i just take this time because i think it's important that people recognize that what we do here has such an important impact on local law enforcement and on local agencies. last year i hosted a round table discussion in prince georges' county, maryland, to discuss the importance of reauthorizing the violence against women act known as vawa. this round table brought together victims, social service agencies, law enforcement, clergy and others on the front line of providing support and protection to victims of domestic violence. vawa has a proven track record of protecting women from domestic violence, and it's hard to understand opposition to legislation with the goal of
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curbing domestic violence. saving women's lives should not be a partisan issue. the statistics of domestic violence are alarming, yet domestic violence remains one of the most underreported crimes in the country. these victims need to know that they have our support, including access to justice, help with housing, medical care, and economic opportunity. in 2010, there were 10,574 protective orders in my state, and peace orders filed in prince georges' county was one-fifth of the total in maryland. so there was 10,000 in prince georges' county, 50,000 in maryland. i heard a number of examples of the importance of vawa from those on the front lines combating domestic violence. prince georges' county shaver told me that the oath that he took obligates him to protect
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all people without political consideration. he strongly stated that vawa should be reauthorized, that it was an extremely important tool that he used to help protect the people of prince georges' county. the states' attorney told me that nor than a decade her office has received funding from vawa that has allowed her domestic violence unit to provide greater services. without this, she would los an advocate and a prosecutor assigned to domestic violence cases reducing their ability to help victims. she urged the house to pass the senate version of vawa in order to enshould you are they continue -- to ensure that they continue to receive this funding. melinda miles is the head of a domestic program in the county serving women and children. she stated that the house bill
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passed would set women back 50 years. this is the bill that they were considering last year and would be a travesty for women and children in this nation now and for years to come. urging at that time that the bill we passed last year, the bill we're considering on the floor now, needs to pass. as quickly as possible. prince jowrnlings county police chief mccow told me that combating domestic violence remains the primary focus of his department and he is thankful for support. the violence against women act act was passed by congress and signed into law by president clinton. this law has a proud and bipartisan history. congress passed this legislation in 1994 after a growing awareness of crimes associated with domestic violence, including sexual assault and stalking cases. congress needed to address the prevailing attitude at the time that domestic violence was a private so-called family matter, which in many cases police were
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hesitant to arrest abusers and prosecutors were reluctant to send abusers to jail. we've changed that. the passage of vawa will hispanic ou-- thepassage of vaw. vawa enhanced the prosecutors of sex offenders and created a umin of grant programs -- a number of grant programs. congress approved reauthorizations of vawa that exspannedded its protection by bipartisan votes in 200 and 2005. in 2000, congress enhanced federal domestic violence and salking penalties, added protection for battered immigrants and added new programs for elderly a and disabled women. in 2005, congress enhanced penalties for repeated stalking offenders, added protection for battered and trafficked immigrants and added programs for sexual assault prams victi
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victims, american indian victims as well as as programs to help respond to domestic violence. in 2013, the senate is trying to improve vawa once again. since its original passage nearly 20 years ago. the senate-passed version of the law includes measures to make sure victims are not denied services because they are gay or transgender, it protects native american women and includes nondiscrimination provisions for all victims regardless of their race, color, religion, or gender. vawa encourages collaboration among law enforcement, judicial personnel, public and private sector providers to victims of domestic and sexual violence. it also works to increase public awareness. madam president, one in four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. an estimated 1.3 million women are victims of sexual assault by
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an intimate partner every year. there are more than 18,000 cases in maryland of domestic abuse and 38 fatalities. that period of time has been the lowest number of domestic violence-related deaths on record for the state, but these numbers are still very much unacceptable. i am disappointed last year the house refused to take up legislation that we approved. it also refused to go to conference to work out differences between the two bills. i urge my colleagues to pass the legislation that is pending here and urge my colleagues in the house to quickly take up the senate bill and enact it into law. with that, madam president, i would suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk should call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from washington. ms. cantwell: madam president, i ask the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. cantwell: madam president, i thank the leader senator leahy for his leadership on trying to get the violence against women act passed and for being down here and working out some agreements hopefully with the other side of the aisle about votes either today or in the future, and hopefully we'll bring this issue to an end and get along with protecting the rights of women throughout the united states of america. so i am very, very anxious to help and further that debate today. i come to the floor as now the chair of the senate indian affairs committee and somebody
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who has spent a lot of time dealing with tribal leadership in the state of washington and throughout the pacific northwest, as i know the presiding officer has a very large tribal population within your state, too, and i'm sure you have had many, many experiences with them. and like me, you want to make sure that all victims of domestic violence are protected in america, and for us in washington state, we receive over 30,000 domestic violence calls a year. that's more than 500 incidents per week. so i can tell you that our domestic violence program serves about 1,800 people each day. each day. and that is why when we get this -- we need to get this legislation reauthorized and move past this debate and make sure we help protect victims. you know, a woman named chris daniels came to one of our events recently. she had fled a very abusive
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domestic violence abuse with her 3-year-old daughter. she is alive, she says, because of the violence against women act, because those safeguards and protections were there to protect her. so, madam president, i come to the floor today and a little frustrated that this debate has bogged down over a few issues, particularly this issue as it relates to native americans and the rights of native americans. i think we have the department of justice come to the united states congress with a very good solution because their point was we have an epidemic of violence against women in tribal countries and we don't have a ready solution as it relates to the necessary law enforcement there to protect them. and i guess i -- i don't mean to be elementary but going back to our country's history and our
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relationship with tribal governments, it is a federal relationship, and to secure that federal relationship, we have basically said these are rights for the federal government and not the states. in many ways, we have eliminated what states can do as it relates to tribal land. so the challenge we have is that on these tribal reservations, we need to make sure that the law is enforced, a federal law, and that there are individuals to carry out that federal law. so i guess my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, by voting for the underlying amendment, i don't know if they have an appropriation authorization there that says okay, here's how we're going to deal with it. we're going to give you a federal prosecutor and a federal agent on every tribal reservation or in every jurisdiction in my state. i don't know how many that would be because, you know, we have huge -- huge lands and vast amounts. so i guess if you thought that was going to be effective, you would have to have a prosecutor and a -- a federal agent, you
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know in probably 20 different parts of my state. and if you multiply that versus even just in the west or your state, we're talking about hundreds of millions of dollars that the federal government would have to bail out to properly police and enforce federal law as it relates to crimes against these women. now, why isn't anybody recommending that? because i think the department of justice has adequately seen that the best way to do this is to build a partnership and to build a partnership with those tribal jurisdictions to get that done. you know, i'm always amazed that looking back at this over history, what have previous administrations, republican administrations, said about this tribal relationship? well, the supreme court has made decisions, and even george h. bush's solicitor general kenneth starr stated in a filing of the supreme court -- quote -- "it remains true today that the state has no jurisdiction on
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reservations involving indians." and george w. bush, his solicitor general said -- quote -- "the policy of leaving indians free from state jurisdiction and control is deeply rooted in our nation's history." end quote. so here are republican administrations that have basically said the way to deal with this is a federal relationship, and i am saying to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle unless you're willing to put a federal prosecutor and to put a federal agent right there on all tribal reservations, who do you think is going to prosecute these crimes? who? who's going to prosecute them? and so that is why the department of justice came to us and said we have an idea of how we might do it. let's try to get a partnership with tribal jurisdictions to make sure that justice is being brought on tribal land but do so by protecting the civil liberties of american citizens
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as we go through this process. and that is the legislation that is before us, that passed out of the judiciary committee and is now on the senate floor that is now trying to be stripped from those very rights that native american women would have. and so the way this would work is obviously tribal jurisdictions would prosecute these individuals, and if you don't think that this isn't a problem, it is amazing to me to think that this concept that maybe one of our other colleagues might be proposing, that somehow you would say a solution would be to say well, it's a lesser crime, that if you assaulted an indian woman on tribal reservations, it would be a misdemeanor, that somehow an aggressive abuse, a violent attack against a woman would somehow be a misdemeanor. i am not going to treat native american women as second-class
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citizens in the united states of america. now, i get that that might have been the cultural norm of the 1700's and the 1800's, but it has no place in our history in 2013. this is about a legislation that will protect tribal women on indian reservations and to make sure that these cases of abusive, whether they are done by a native american or non-native american, are protected. in one case, a woman dana millach, her ex-husband was arrested for more than 100 times he had beaten her or attacked her and then finally showed up at her workplace with a gun to kill her, and only because an individual from her workplace pushed her out of the way that she is still alive. but her husband is being treated as a first-time offender because all those other times that he beat her or domestically assaulted her, he was never
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prosecuted because it taxes place on a reservation. this epidemic is so great that now these people involved in sex trafficking, in drug trafficking are targeting rest -- reservations and these women because they know they won't get prosecuted, they know this. so we are allowing an untolerable situation to grow in great extremes simply because we aren't working together with a tool. i get that many of my colleagues may not understand the history of tribal law and the history of our country in securing a relationship with tribes and the treaties that we signed. again, as i said before, this is a relationship that we have preserved for the federal government and the federal government is saying this is how we can best solve these crimes by getting the help and support of tribal jurisdictions.
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i want to say to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, because i have heard some of them say that somehow this violates the civil liberties of non-native americans if these crimes happen in indian country, nothing could be farther from the truth. first of all, all tribal courts also adhere to the indian civil rights act, which is basically our 14th amendment in the same, so that security of the 14th amendment is right there in the law and will protect any non-native american that is charged with this crime on a reservation. secondly, this law has specifically broad language, making sure that the defendant would be protected with all rights required by the united states in order for this jurisdiction to have oversight. so it is almost like a double
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protection, saying it twice, that the habeas corpus rights of individuals are going to be protected under this statute. so the notion that this is somehow abrogating individual rights just because the crime takes place on a tribal reservation is incorrect. so i ask my colleagues do you want to continue to have this unbelievable growth and petri dish of crime evolving because criminals know when you have a porous border, that is where they're going to go, or whether we want to partner with a recommendation that has been determined by the department of justice who has the authority to carry out this federal law on tribal reservations and are asking for this partnership but with due protection, to give them that due protection so we can root out this evil in our communities. i would say to my colleagues it's time to pass this
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legislation and to protect these rights for all individuals. we cannot vote for an amendment on the other side of the aisle that basically strips the rights of native american women and treats them like second-class citizens, nor can we just go silent on what is an epidemic problem in our country. what we have to do is stand up and realize that the relationship between the federal government and indian country is a very mature relationship today with a lot of federal case law behind it, a lot of republican administrations recognizing that it's a federal relationship, and that we can accomplish asking indian country to help us solve this problem and prosecute these individuals under the rights that we have as constitutional citizens of the united states. i am confident that we can get to an answer here and resolve this issue, and i can say to my
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colleagues we need to do so with urgency. we can't allow another 1,800 calls to go in and be unanswered or not supported because we haven't authorized this legislation. let's get our job done and let's protect all women throughout the united states of america. madam president, i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. portman: i'd like to speak on an amendment, if i could. the presiding officer: the senator is recognized. mr. portman: thank you, madam president. earlier this week, my colleague senator blumenthal spoke about an amendment that's being offered to the violence against women act, and it is an amendment that has to do with sex trafficking. i'm pleased to join him in offering the amendment and talking about it today.
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this is an amendment that makes a -- really a technical correction to the underlying legislation to enhance the safety of our youth and our children in the area of sex trafficking. senator blumenthal and i started the senate caucus to end human trafficking last year, and we have been working with our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make bipartisan progress on this issue, among other things, just to raise the awareness of human trafficking in general, and then with regard to the underlying bill before us today, the issue of sex trafficking. this cuts across all party lines, all philosophical lines. it's something that's much more fundamental, really, and that is sort of who we are as a people. it's about basic human dignity and respecting and protecting it. it's important to acknowledge that human trafficking is not just something that we hear about that happens overseas. it happens right here in america. the issue is present unfortunately in communities in ohio. in connecticut where senator blumenthal is from, and so many
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of our states. children and youth, some of our most vulnerable individuals, are at the greatest risk. according to the federal bureau of investigation, the f.b.i., there are now nearly 300,000 young americans at risk of commercial sex exploitation and trafficking. the department of justice reports that between 2008 and 2010, 83% of sex trafficking victims found within the united states were u.s. citizens. so this is not about folks from other countries. this is about so many americans. 40% of those cases, by the way, involve the sexual exploitation of children. one of the reasons we lack data on the definitive number of victims is that there are limited resources and programs available to serve these children nationwide, and the problem is not limited to large cities or metropolitan areas. in ohio, the 2012 human trafficking commission report surveyed more than 300 ohio youth victims of sex trafficking. the report found that 40% were also victims of sexual abuse, 47% surveyed confirmed that they
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had been raped more than one year before being trafficked. dr. suya williamson who is from toledo, ohio, is one of the key individuals responsible for this commission report and continues to work to strengthen the response to sex trafficking in ohio. dr. williamson has developed a program, rescue child, which is used to educate first responders and everyday citizens on how to recognize the signs of sex trafficking. unfortunately, we found out in our own state of ohio, toledo, ohio, ranks number four in the country in terms of prosecutions, investigations and arrests under -- for sex trafficking. so we have an issue in our state and specifically in northwest ohio we're all focused on. what dr. williamson has done is educate folks by pointing out the key signs of vulnerability are. children victims of sexual abaltimore, child abuse, neglect, in order to fight human trafficking we have to
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prioritize service had services to vulnerable youth. so the ima of this amendment is really again a technical amendment. it's to ensure we protect these child victims of sex trafficking and provide them with what is necessary to fully recover from this devastating trauma. section 80 of the bill, the reauthorization of vawa, is appropriately titled creating hope through yiewt reach, services and options for children and youth. the intent of the section is to develop, expand and strengthen victim centered services that target youth who are victims of sexual assault and stalking. section 302 omits the term sex trafficking except in the term of coowe occurrence with one of these other factors. in order to be covered victims would have to be victims of sexual assault or another violation as well as victims of sex trafficking. the owe physician of sex trafficking in section 302 seems
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to be inadvertent but because it's inconsistent with similar sections elsewhere, one is section 902 which provides grants to indian tribal governments, this provides for services to address the need of youth who are needs of dating violation, sexual assault and stalking. so it's in one section but not in another. we simply want to clarify a victim of sex trafficking lien should be sufficient to be covered under this act. i want to thank senator blumenthal for his commitment to this issue and i want to thank my colleagues, i want to thank the ranking member and chairman on the floor today, i will be hoping to offer this amendment at the appropriate point in the process but i wanted to have the opportunity to talk about it and explain why senator blumenthal and i would like to make this, we hope it will be noncontroversial, almost a technical correction to inn sure that sex trafficking is included among those provisions that are listed in section 302. thank you, madam president.
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: thank you. i hope to offer an amendment that would be a republican substitute, and so whenever that happens, i don't know exactly when, but i would like to discuss my amendment at this point. it does more to protect the right of victims of domestic violence and sex crimes than does the underlying piece of legislation. there are many ways in which this is so. under the substitute amendment that i will offer, more money goes to victims and less to bureaucrats. it requires that 10% of the grantees be audited every year to ensure taxpayers' funds are actually used to combat domestic violence and it seems to me that when dollars are short, that's a very important point, that people ought to take cognizance of. the justice department inspector
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general conducted a review of 22 violent crimes grantees between the years 1998 and 2010. of these 22, 21 were found to have some form of violation of grant requirements ranging from unauthorized and unallowable expenditures to sloppy recordkeeping and failure to report in a timely manner. in 2010, one grantee was found by the inspector general to have questionable costs for 93% of the nearly $900,000 that they received from the department of justice. a 2009 audit found that nearly $500,000 of a $680,000 grant was questionable. these fiscal irregularities
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continue, and the inspector general audit from last year found that the violence against women act grant recipient in the virgin islands engaged in almost $850,000 of questionable spending. also a grant to an indian tribe in idaho had about $250,000 in improperly spent funds, including $171,000 in salary for an unapproved position. in michigan last year, a woman at the violence against women act grant recipient used some of those funds to purchase goods and services for her personal use. so after all those examples, the point is this: we should make sure that violence against women act money goes to victims. that hasn't been the case under the current situation.
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and the substitute works towards improving that situation. the substitute also prevents grantees from using taxpayers' funds to lobby for more taxpayers' funds. that seems to be pretty commonsense. so my amendment will ensure that more money is available for victim services. that's where the money is supposed to go. money that goes to grantees and is squandered helps no woman or other victims. in addition, the republican alternative limits the amount of violence against women funds that can go to administrative fees and salaries to just 7.5%. the present dwrund lying bill, s. 47, contains no such limit. if you want the money to go to victims and not to bureaucrats, those overhead expenses, then, should be capped.
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the republican substitute amendment requires that 30% of the stop grants and grants for arrest policies and protection orders are targeted for sexual assault. the underlying bill sets aside only 20% for sexual assault. the substitute requires that training materials be approved by an outside accredited organization to ensure that those who address dmiems help -- domestic violence help victims based on knowledge and not on ideology. that will result in more effective assistance to the victims. the underlying bill contains no such requirement. the substitute protects due process rights that the majority bill threatens. now, i'm sure the majority writers don't feel that their bill threatens due process rights, so let me explain. the majority bill says that
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college campuses must provide for -- quote -- "prompt and equitable investigation and resolution" -- end of quote of charges of violence or stalking. this essentially does nothing but codify a proposed rule of the department of education that would have required the imposition of civil standards or a preponderance of evidence for what is essentially is criminal charge. one that if proved rightfully should harm reputation. but if established on a barely more than probable, then not standard, reputations can be ruined then unfairly. the substitute eliminates this provision as well as another provision that allowed the victim who could not prove such a charge, even under this reduced standard, to appeal if
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she lost, creating a kind of double standard. the majority bill also would give indian tribal courts the ability to issue protective orders and full civil jurisdiction over non-indians based on actions allegedly taken in indian country. noting that the due process clause requires that courts exercise jurisdiction over only those persons who have -- quote, unquote -- "minimum contacts with the forum, the congressional research service has raised constitutional concerns with this provision. the substitute contains provisions that would benefit tribal women and would not run afoul of the constitution. tribes could seek protective orders in the federal court, and the substitute establishes
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up to $25 million for federal prosecutors or magistrates to be placed in -- near tribes for criminal domestic violence and sexual assault cases as well as to hear tribal motions for protective orders. the grant funds are paid for by reducing the overhead of other justice department grant funds. however, there will be no reduction in available grants for law enforcement or victims. these programs are not currently funded to their authorized levels, so their reductions will not reduce services provided. combating violence against women means tougher penalties for those who commit these terrible crimes. the substitute that i'm referring to creates a ten-year mandatory minimum sentence for
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federal convictions for forcible rape. the majority bill even eliminates the five-year mandatory minimum sentence for this crime that was in the bill last year and supported last year by the judiciary committee. child pornography is an actual record of a crime scene of violence against women. our alternative amendment establishes with one-year mandatory minimum sentence for possession of child pornography where the victim depicted is under 1 years of age. -- 12 years of age. i believe the mandatory minimum should be higher and in light of the systemically lenient sentences that too many federal judges hand out, there should be a mandatory minimum sentence for all child pornography
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possession convictions. but the substitute at least is a start. this is especially true because the majority bill takes no action against child pornography. our alternative also imposed a five-year mandatory minimum sentence for the crime of aggravated sexual assault. this crime involves sexual assault through the use of drugs and by otherwise rendering the victim unconscious. the underlying bill does nothing about aggravated sexual assault. the status quo appears to be fine for the other side. the republican substitute establishes a ten-year mandatory minimum sentence for the crime of interstate clesk violence that results in the death of a victim. it increases from 20 to 25 years the statutory maximum sentence for the crime when where it results in life-threatening bodily injury to or the
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permanent disfigurement of the victim. it increases from ten to 15 years the mandatory maximum sentence for this crime when serious bodily injury to the victim is a result. the underlying bill contains none of these important protections for domestic violence victims. also included in my amendment are commonsense immigration reforms that put integrity back into the violence against women act self-petitioning process and the u. visa program. this last congress, the judiciary committee heard the powerful testimony of julie poner. she described her personal experience as a victim of immigration, marriage fraud and with the fraudulent use of violence against women act self-petitions. ms. poner told us she married her husband in the czech republic and moved her husband
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and kids back to the united states. within days of receiving notice of an interview with the immigration service to finalize her husband's immigration status, he told her that he was divorcing her. he instructed her to file for the divorce and continued to sponsor him for his green card. he then became abusive towards their children. her husband was a hockey player, 6'2". however, he knew he risked deportation if the truth came out. so he turned the tables on this wife and claimed that he was the one abused, actually being abused by ms. poner. ms. poner never was allowed to share her side of the story. the immigration service believed his thaims claims and allowed him to remain in the united states. our committee also received written statements from more
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than 20 individuals who maintained that they were victims of marriage fraud or were falsely accused as part of violence against women act self-petitions. these witnesses told of their firsthand experiences and how foreign nationals preyed on u.s. citizens simply to get a green card. the u.s. citizens thought it was all -- it was all for love. but after saying "i do" the foreign national lodged false allegations, sometimes of physical abuse, in order to get out of the marriage, collect alimony and secure a green card. witnesses have said their side of the story was never -- never heard because under the process used by the united states citizenship and immigration services, the citizen's side of the story is not considered.
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so the united states citizen and the immigration service handles all of these green cards application in one service center that relies exclusively on paper, without interviewing either of the alleged abused foreign national or the accused citizen. to this day, i am disappointed that antifraud measures not have been included in violence against women act. we can't allow a law intended to prevent abuse to be manipulated as a pathway to u.s. citizenship for foreign con artists and criminals. if we're truly concerned about helping and protecting the victims of domestic violence, we should include a provision that allows our immigration agents to hear both sides of the story when foreign nationals apply for a green card for
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alleging domestic violence by united states citizen. so my amendment obviously addresses this fraud. it would require an interview of the applicant and allow the government to gather other evidence and interview other witnesses including the accused united states citizen or legal permanent resident. before adjudicating the self-petition, the government would have to determine whether other investigations or prosecution are underway for the petitioning alien. if there are other allegations or investigations pending, the immigration adjudication would have to consider all facts. the second immigration-related section of my amendment would strengthen the requirement of a u-visa. under current law, the requirements for receiving a u-visa are generous.
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my amendment implements some commonsense requirements to guide law enforcement who help sponsor these individuals. in addition to confirming that the alien has been helpful, each law enforcement certification will also have to confirm that, one, the alien reported the criminal activity to a law enforcement agency within 120 days of occurrence, two, the statute of limitations for prosecuting an offense based on criminal activity has not lapsed, three, the criminal activity is actively under investigation or a prosecution has been commenced, and four and last, the alien has information that will assist in identifying the perpetrator of the criminal activity and/or the perpetrator's identity is known. with these changes the u-visas
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will become a law enforcement tool. the additional requirement will ensure that the help given to real and significantly advanced -- advances and actual investigation and prosecution. another immigration-related section of my amendment includes a government accountability office report to assess the efficiency and reliability of the process for reviewing applications for u-visas and self-petitions under violence against women act. including where the process includes adequate safeguards against fraud and abuse. it will also identify possible improvements in order to reduce fraud and abuse. the final immigration provision that i want to highlight in my substitute would allow the u.s. government to deport repeat drunk drivers. section 1005 would add habitual
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drunk driving to the list of aggravated felonies for which an alien may be deported. every day -- every day an innocent life is taken because everyone -- someone decides to drink and drive. an individual who gets behind the wheel after drinking is not exercisexercising sound judgmen. under the immigration and nationality act, foreign nationals are required to be good moral character before they're able to adjust status and become citizens of the united states. unfortunately, habitual trunk driving doesn't stand in one's way from gaining these benefit benefits -- unfortunately, habitual drun driving does not stand in one a's from gaining these benefits. there are numerous stories about innocent individuals who have taken anyone -- individuals who have taken innocent lives because they were driving under the influence of alcohol. in 2011, an undocumented alien in cook county, illinois, killed
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a man in a drunk driving accident. unfortunately, that was -- he was released by the county, absconded and remained in the united states. there was also a virginia man who killed a catholic nun in prince william county 2010. he was an illegal immigrant and repeat offender and never should have been allowed to remain in the country. there are many more cases and unfortunately the law will allow drunk driving to continue without repercussions to foreign nationals who are on the path to citizenship. so it's time that these offenses were classified as an aggravated felony. it's time to get these people off the streets. residing in the united states is a privilege, not a right. the congress has every prerogative to dictate which behavior is acceptable, especially for noncitizens who
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should be "good moral character. "lascharacter." last congress, the judiciary committee adopted an amendment to this bill that would have classified habitual drunk driving offenses as aggravated felonies. but in the bill before us now, the majority has dropped that provision. i cannot understand why we would be so lean yet with respect to habitual drunk drivers. when we get to amendments -- the amendment -- the substitute i just talked about, i inten to io offer that substitute and i would urge my colleagues to support the amendment. thank you very much, madam chairman. i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: madam president, the republican substitute being
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offered by the senator from iowa does not meet i believe the needs of victims of domestic violence or dating violence or sexual assault or stalking. i believe it's a poor substitute for the bipartisan violence against women reauthorization act we developed over the last two years and had 62 bipartisan senate cosponsors. and i would hope senators would vote against it. it is not the bill that we voted out of the judiciary committee. it is not the bill that 62 of us voted for last year -- or more than 62 -- 68 voted for last year or 62 have cosponsored this year. the leahy-crapo violence against women reauthorization act already reflects many of the efforts we've undertaken to address the concerns of senator grassley and to meet republican
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members halfway and to accommodate them where we could. in fact, our bill includes significant new accounting provisions. as well as language that senator grassley asked us to include on the trafficking in individuals protection act. mr. leahy: our bill significantly reduces authorization levels to all programs. that fact, i believe, madam president, this is the first time authorization reduced levels by almost 20%. our billion some dates and streamlines 13 programs. our bill limits the percentage of grants organizations can use for planning purposes. in fact, in drafting our bill, we eliminated several provisions that senator grassley indicated were problematic.
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i took these steps in an effort to work toward a bipartisan bi bill. but, unfortunately, the proposed substitute bill removes fundamental points of fairness at the core of this legislation. we need to cover everyone who experiences domestic and sexual violence in this country, no exceptions. a victim is a victim is a victim, as i've said so many times on this floor. you can't pick and choose among victims of domestic and sexual violence and say, oh, we can do something for these; we can't for these. i'll tell you, madam president, no police officer on the scene of one of these crimes makes that kind of choice. they want to protect everyone. and we, a hundred members of the united states senate, ought to protect everyone. you know, i think about 3 1/2 years ago when the congress finally, finally adopted matthew
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shepard and james byrd jr. hate crimes prevention act which protected those targeted with violence in a similar way to what we're considering today. we should not retreat -- we should not retreat from that position when we're addressing domestic and sexual violence. this substitute abandons vawa's historic emphasis on abuse of women. you know, women are still more often the victims of domestic and sexual violence with month catastrophic -- with more catastrophic results. it not only fails women, it fails to guarantee that victims will -- victims will not unable to access them because of sexual orientation or gender identity. in this area, we ought to listen to those on the front lines of these tragedies. they've told us from across this country about underserved
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communities needing protection. we've heard this from law enforcement, from the faith community, from state organizations, local organizations. and we should respond to law enforcement when they tell us about the importance of the new visa program because it lets them take dangerous people off the street. we should not adopt the measures included in the republican substitute that would make it more difficult for victims to apply for new visas. this substitute would abandon our provisions that address domestic and sexual violence through tribal areas. they've actually reached epidemic proportion. the rates of victimization far exceeding those in the general population. and taking money from other justice department programs to oppose federal judges and prosecutors on indian lands is costly, it's unworkable, it's a nonsolution to the problem, and
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it is a cruel change to victims throughout the country. instead, we should look at what's in the bipartisan leahy-crapo bill. it takes the approach recommended by our committee on indian affairs, the committee that actually looked into this whole issue. we included local, community-based approaches to domestic violence that work so well in many vawa programs. federal prosecutors already have authority to prosecute on these lands and they have not solved the problem. federal judges have -- i would remind the other side that when they've held up, even from last year, so many federal judges, you know, our federal courts are stretched thin. there are 83 current vacancies. suddenly saying, well, we can't get around to confirm judges
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but, by the same time, let's take judges that are there already and put them in another jurisdiction. giving tribes the ability to prosecute those who commit violence against indian victims on indian land is a better, less costly solution than bringing in large numbers of federal officials to indian country. so as well-intended as they may be, the differences are in the wrong direction, they're going to leave victims out. and i'm afraid that the grassley substitute would also include costly, inefficient bureaucratic provisions that could cripple the delivery of needed services to victims and tie up the work of the justice department's office of inspector general. in contrast to that substitute, the bipartisan vawa reauthorization bill responds to the needs we've heard from the professionals, including law enforcement, the people who work every day to help victims of
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domestic violence and sexual assault and dating violence and stalking. no one i have worked with as identified federal sentencing as an area requiring change. no prosecutor, no social worker, nobody. the sentencing provisions in the substitute, which include mandatory minimum sentences, are unnecessary and countered productive -- and counterproductive. in fact, leading sexual assault advocacy groups, like the national alliance to end sexual violence, oppose mandatory minimum sentences because they have a chilling effect on reporting and prosecution of sexual assaults. the sentencing provisions in the substitute make victims also by extension of their communities less safe. let's not include extraneous provisions as the substitute does. they have nothing to do with domestic violence or sexual
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assault. comprehensive immigration reform coming before us. we're going to be dealing with that in the judiciary committee in a matter of weeks. we're hard at work on that. let us do comprehensive immigration reform there. proposals to change deportations may be appropriate in the context of comprehensive immigration reform. they really have nothing to do with vawa. but they're included in this substitute. and when a provision -- in fact that was included in the measure last year. the substitute none the less opposed vawa reauthorization. let's vote on that one way or another on comprehensive immigration reform. i'd also note that every previous reauthorization of vawa has contained new protections for immigrants in underserved
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communities. one of the reasons we have the reauthorization is that we learned about what worked before, what didn't work before, got rid of what didn't work and added to what did work. our bill builds on that foundation. the changes are modest and widely supported. fortunately, the substitute would cut -- unfortunately, the substitute would cut core provisions of our legislation that we all know we need. the professionals in the field tell us they're needed. i want to thank senator cantwell and senator klobuchar, senator durbin for their excellent statements in opposition. i urge all senators to oppose the substitute and instead support the bipartisan violence against women act. i ask my whole stability placed in the record. -- i ask my whole statement be placed in the record.
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the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: and i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i'm not going to rebut point by point, but i'd just like to take a little bit of time to emphasize the key points that i've tried to make and in a sense might be asking the chairman to think in terms of what we're trying to accomplish, just on a couple points. first of all, i think that this is pointed out with the underlying bill that somehow all victims are not protected. the point is that for however many years -- and i suppose it's 25 years that this legislation has been on the books -- all victims are protected under the substitute and, i want to emphasize, under current law. now, it was then-senator biden -- now vice president biden --
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writing the current law. his law did not discriminate, as senator leahy says. those who provide domestic violence services believe a victim is a victim. they do not discriminate. now, on another point about the tribal courts -- and i made reference to the congressional research service when i gave my longer remarks on this point of questionable constitutional issues. as for the tribal court provisions, the congressional research service has raised serious constitutional problems, both with respect to the authority of tribal courts to prosecute non-indians, and the constitutional rights of non-indians. what is very cruel is to provide tribal women the illusion of a solution that courts may well
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strike down on constitutional grounds in the future. i yield the floor, and i would suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. leahy: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: i ask consent the call of the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the following amendments be the only first-degree amendments in order to the bill -- grassley substitute amendment number 14, leahy amendment number 21, portman amendment number 10, murkowski amendment number 11, coburn amendment number 13, coburn amendment number 15, coburn amendment number 16, the time until 4:00 p.m. be for debate today on the grassley
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substitute, debate be equally divided between the two leaders or their designees, that at 4:00 p.m., the senate proceed to vote in relation to the grassley substitute amendment, that there be no amendments in order to any of the amendments on this list prior to votes in relation to the amendments, that when the senate resumes consideration of the bill following any leader remarks on monday, february 11, the time until 5:30 p.m. be equally divided between the two leaders or their designees prior to votes in relation to the remaining amendments with package of the underlying bill as amended if amended. further, that the senator have 45 minutes under his control on the republican side and there be two minutes equally divided prior to each vote. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. p mr. leahy: madam president, i
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would suggest the absence of a quorum. mr. leahy: and ask that the time be equally divided. the presiding officer: without objection. the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: madam president, i ask the call of the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: madam president, i spoke on this earlier, but i would just tell my colleagues
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why i will oppose this substitute which is going to be voted on in a few minutes. it does not meet the needs of victims of domestic violence or dating violence or sexual assault or stalking. i think it's a poor substitute for the bipartisan violence against women reauthorization act we have developed over the last two years. it has 62 bipartisan senate cosponsors. that's why i will urge senators to vote against it. the proposed substitute bill would remove fundamental points of fairness that are at the core of this legislation. we need to cover everyone who experiences domestic and sexual violence in this country with no exceptions. again, i have said a hundred times on this floor, a victim is a victim is a victim, violence is violence is violence. you can't say this victim will get protection, but this victim won't get protection.
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the police never do that, we shouldn't do it, and this substitute abandons vawa's historic emphasis on abuse of women. women are still more often the victims of domestic and sexual violence with more catastrophic results. when the substitute fails women, it fails to guarantee the services will actually reach those victims who in the past have been unable to access them. every previous reauthorization of vawa has contained new protections for immigrants and underserved communities. our bill builds on that foundation. it is widely supported within the faith community, law enforcement community. those who work against domestic violence. we have gone all over this country, madam president, to find the best way to do this. this is what we have done in this bill.
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and what bothers me the most about the substitute, it cuts -- it guts the core provisions of our bipartisan legislation. i know we need them. professionals in the field tell us they're needed. and we look at what we have in our bipartisan reauthorization bill. it spoppedz to the needs we have heard from the professionals including law enforcement. these are the people who work every day to help victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and dating violence and stalking. no one i have worked with has identified federal sentencing as an area requiring changes, and yet the sentencing provisions in the substitute are unnecessary and counterproductive. earlier, madam president, i went through this i think point by
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point. i won't repeat it, but just i would say this to all the members of this body, republicans and democrats alike, who have worked to craft this bipartisan piece of legislation, please vote against this substitute amendment because it is nothing, nothing at all like what we have worked on. madam president, what is the amendment before us now? the presiding officer: the amendment has not yet been offered. mr. leahy: madam president, under the unanimous consent request, am i correct that the grassley substitute is to be voted on in about 30 seconds? the presiding officer: the senator is correct.
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mr. leahy: normally i would call it up but i understand senator grassley is almost here. as a matter of courtesy i will not call it up, but if there is going to be a delay because people are expecting this 4:00 vote -- mrs. boxer: parliamentary inquiry, madam president. what is the order right now? the presiding officer: the order is for the grassley substitute to be offered and voted upon. mrs. boxer: at 4:00? the presiding officer: at 4:00. mrs. boxer: i would say due to what's happening here i would just say if he doesn't make his presentation in five minutes that weekend vote -- that we could vote. mr. mccain: on behalf of senator grassley and probably to his dismay, i call up the
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grassley amendment. the presiding officer: cloark cloark -- the clerk will report the amendment. stroik. the clerk: strike all after the enacting cause and insert, mr. mccain: i ask unanimous consent further reading be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: i ask the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or change their vote? seeing none, the yeas are 34, the nays are 65. the amendment is not agreed to. the majority leader.
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mr. reid: a few minutes ago, senator carl levin cast his 12,000th vote. so it's my honor to say a few words about carl levin. he's served the state of michigan for 35 years, longer serving senator in the history of that state. and during his 35 years in the senate, he has been known as a workhorse. when you have a problem and you want somebody to look it over and understand the issue, go to senator levin. he is somebody that really is a person who dots all the i's and crosses all the t's. i depend and have depended on him so much for issues that are difficult. he's a native of detroit, served -- i'm sorry, he attended swathmore college. he graduated, as i always remind him, harvard law school. i told him several times that obviously my application was
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lost, because i never heard back from him. served as general counsel to the michigan civil rights commission, assistant attorney general for the state of michigan. he ran for the detroit city council, served two terms there, was elected to the united states snoot in is the 78. where served six terms as real will you an effective champion of the people of michigan. public service runs in his family. sandy levin, sander levin is his older brother, who came to the house of representatives in 1982 with me, durbin, carper, boxer -- to name just a few. and, mr. president, senator levin has heard me say this several times, and i'll continue to say it because it's one of the most impressive, memorable statements i had in -- i've ever had with a very -- in a very
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personal setting. i was in the house of representatives, and i was thinking of running for the senate. and i went over to meet with carl levin to get his ideas and to meet him. and i said, as i was trying to establish some rapport with him, i said, i'm serving with your brother. he and i came here together a congress ago. and without hesitation and so sincerely, he looked up a at me and he said, yes, he's my brother, but he's also my best friend. i've never, ever forgotten that. that speaks so well of the levin family. sandy has been the chair of the ways and means committee, is now the ranking member of the ways and means committee, of which carl is very proud of the service of his brother, as is sandy proud of the service of his brother. carl levin has been the chairman of the armed services committee,
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which of course is one of the most important, powerful committees in the entire congress, but he is a respected voice or ins dealing with national security -- and issues dealing with national security, and he has done so much to improve the status of men and women in the military for our great country. he, as the first person to introduce a bill -- in fact, the very first bill he introduced as a senator speaks of the kind person he is on the on and the e cares about. he introduced a bill to end discrimination by credit card companies. now, mr. president, we have -- and two congresses ago when we did some real good reforming of the credit card debate, senator levin of course was involved in that as well he should have been because he was the first to bring to the attention of the american people, the things that
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needed to be done. he's also the chairman of the permanent select committee on investigations, which has and has done for decades great work for this country. but under his guidance and leadership he's done some remarkably good work. he was one who delved very deeply into the enron collapse. again, that committee has done a lot of work on abusive credit card practices. it is one of the main reasons we were able to get credit card reforum done. he led an investigation into the 2008 financial crisis. he's done a wonderful report on what i refer to as tax loopholes, and i think that's what he refers to them as also. he's been one of the country's leading experts and one of the leading experts in this body on american manufacturers. we know that american manufacturing has such strong
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forces in michigan in years past, and they're coming back as a result of the work that the michigan delegation has done, led by senator levin. he is someone who understands that we have a new world, we have global markets, and we have to continue working hard to make sure that we're part of that, and we are. great lakes -- he's fought to protect the great lakes, michigan's signature natural resource. he's married to barbara, a wonderful woman, who has been so thoughtful and kind to me, but especially my wife during her recent illness. they've been married since 1961. they have three daughters, six grandchildren. carl levin is somebody that i so admire. he's got a lot of service left in him, mr. president. there's so many things that he is capable of doing as a result of the positions he now holds in the senate.
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but the one thing that i have -- i have admired some things about carl levin, but the one thing, as i've already indicated, is how strongly he feels about his family. he and his brother have a piece of property in michigan. they call it the tree farm, and i still have -- in searchlight -- my hat that they gave me. it says "free far "tree farm." he has talked to me many times. he and his brother just like to walk on their tree farm there's nothing there but trees. it is an owe caution for them to be together as brothers. so, congratulations to senator carl levin on reaching this impressive milestone, impressive -- of course, 12,000 votes. but not only has he left that marks but he's left a mark in my mind and anyone who's served with hum a him as an extraordiny
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man. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, it's been my honor to observe the senior senator from michigan for almost three decades now, and i, too, want to rise and congratulate him on achieving this milestone. there's no member of the senate who is brighter, more hardwor hardworking, and we've had a good example here in the last couple of months of senator levin's respect for the institution and his desire to protect the traditions of this institution, which i want him to know that is widely respected all throughout the senate and particularly on this side of the aisle. so i congratulate him for this important achievement and look forward to working with him in the future. ms. stabenow: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. ms. stabenow: thank you, mr. president. i rise, too, to congratulate my friend and my colleague, the senior senator from michigan.
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this is the day he has cast his 12,000th vote, but what is most significant is not the quantity of his votes but the quality of his votes and the fact that each one of those has had michigan's face on it when he cast those votes. and so, as our majority leader indicated, our leader, senator levin, has been a cha champion r the automotive industry, for manufacturing, for his beloved detroit, for our beautiful and wonderful great lakes, for the department of defense and, more particularly the men and women who serve us every day, and i just want to rise on behalf of everyone in michigan to say how proud we are of senator levin. we have great confidence in his
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judgment, integrity, and hard work, and in my book there's nobody better. and, of course, i am very, very thrilled with the wonderful family that he has, he and barbara, and is ahea he is aheae on grandchildren, but i am working on t but h it. but he is not only someone with the right ethics and integrity and love for his family, but he has -- nobody fights harder and does the right thing for michigan more than carl levin. and so i just want to join in congratulating him and once again say it's not about the number of votes; it's the quality of votes. and every one of those 12,000 votes has had michigan's name on it. thank you. mr. levin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: mr. president, first let me thank my dear colleague, my partner from michigan, senator stabenow. we work so closely on michigan
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issues. we work together on them, and she's just one great partner, and how proud i am to represent michigan with her at my side and her as a partner. talking about partners, my wife with regarbarbara now has been o me for 51 years. and she is nig my lifelong -- ee me, my brother is my lifelong best buddy because he was there when i was born. so i have to modify what senator reid said. but for the last 51 years my wife has been my best buddy and my brother has been my second-best buddy. but i'm blessed with family. i thank you all for mentioning family. i'm blessed with staff, led by david lyles. i have great friendships here in this body, and there's just no substitute for the kind of friendships and relationships which make this body work, even
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when it doesn't appear to be working, it's workin working. and i know the public gets frustrated with us at times. but this is an extraordinarily resilient body. he have would a come back many times during the 34 years i've been here during some periods we've been frustrated in terms of getting our work done. but we pull through in this wonderful, noble institution, this have e venerable notion is- venerable institution here is being protected by people who love it and i cherish those relationships with people who really do cherish this body and what it stands for uniquely in the world. there is no other body like it in the world. i only wish that people like robert byrd and danny inouye could live together to help protect this body, but that's not the case. i just want to mention one other thing. i am a very grateful to senator rioted hreid and senator mcconnr
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their statements. a few weeks ago this body did something which was very, very bipartisan and very essential to its health and its survival and that was to mike sure that we -- make sure that we continue to protect the minority but not to overprotect a few members if those members take excessive advantage of our rules. and so eight of us got together -- senator mccain and i pulled together three democrats, three republicans, and we for many, many weeks worked together, without staff, and came up with an alternative which the leaders used to work through this complicated situation that we found ourselves in relative to the rules. on the democratic side, we had
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senator schumer, senator cardin, and senator pryor. joining with us. on the republican side, we had senator alexander and senator kyl and senator barrasso joining senator mccain and i. and it was really one of the, i believe, most important things that we've done in recent years here, which is to, number one, change the procedures. they weren't working. they were being used to frustrate efforts to get legislation to the floor. we had to do that. we had to do something to change the rules which were being misused in terms of postcloture hours on judges that were going to be approved by votes of 95-1 or 95-2 and those postcloture hours were being used to stall the senate. and we took care of that situation. we acted on a bipartisan basis and hopefully that spirit of bipartisanship, which is so essential to making this place
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work, will continue, will be given a boost not just in what the leaders did in accepting our recommendations essentially on these procedural changes but will now apply and work with other efforts that are under way and will be under way in this congress. i just -- i want to mention that because eight of us on a bipartisan basis did something which we believe very deeply about as a way of avoiding what was called a nuclear option, which would have then led the senate, if that were used, to changing the rules in a way which was not provided for in the rules; this being a continuing body under our rules to have gone around them and to essentially put a presiding officer in the position of ignoring the advice of our parliamentarian and saying that we could, by majority vote, do something which our rules say
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can only be done by two-thirds of us would have done severe damages, long-lasting damage to this institution. we were able to avoid it, democrats and republicans, well beyond the eight of us, including the presiding officer, who was so helpful to me in working through this idea, giving me suggestions, and i'm very grateful to him for the kind of suggestions and conversations that we had. we were able to work through an issue on a bipartisan basis, and then the body came together, and about 80 of us or more voted for these procedural changes. i thought it was a great thing personally; i know that. i know the eight of us failed very strongly. what an important contribution we made to this body working together. so we feel very good about it. i hope over time that some of the people who were critical of it will see it as being a
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significant advance in making this body work better, allowing us to work our will. but i just wanted to mention that because it was mentioned by one of our leaders, senator mcconnell. and i know that senator reid worked with so close with his staff and helped us through a very, very difficult situation which could have not resolved on a bipartisan basis created real problems for the operation of this body. i want to thank our leaders. i thank senator reid, who is such a dear, dear friend. i thank him for mentioning my beloved wife barbara and also my brother sandy. i then would yield the floor. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. a senator: i ask that the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without
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objection. mr. hoeven: i rise to speak on the keystone xl project. gas prices are up over 90% since president obama took office. economic activity for the fourth quarter of 2012 declined by .1%. it was projected to go up by about 1% to 1.2%. actually it declined by .1%. still the president refuses to approve a multibillion-dollar project, the keystone xl pipeline that will provide energy, create jobs, generate tax revenue and help reduce our dependence on oil from the middle east. he's still delaying even though every state, every state on the pipeline route has consented to the project. so every single state on the route has approved the project and will have better environmental stewardship with
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the project than without it. so let he phao*e -- let me repeat that. every state on the route approved the project and will have better environmental stewardship with the project than without it, yet the president continues to delay. recently a group of 53 senators, republicans and democrats, signed a letter asking him to approve without delay keystone x.l. pipeline project. the letter was signed by the majority within one day of alaska senator dave hineman's approval of a new route through the state of nebraska. it addressed concerns about the route by circumventing the environmentally sensitive sandhills region effectively removing the last obstacle to approval. prior to sending this letter, senator max baucus and myself in
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november organized a similar letter -- that was in november -- signed by nine republican senators and nine democrat senators, asking to meet with the president to discuss the many benefits that accrue to our nation by building the keystone x.l. pipeline. let me read that letter. it's very short. "with the elections of 2012 behind us, we write to remind you of the continuing importance of the keystone x.l. pipeline. we want to work together to keep creating jobs and the keystone x.l. is a vital piece of the puzzle. we would like to meet with you in the near future to discuss this important project. setting politics aside, nothing has changed about the thousands of jobs that keystone x.l. will create. nothing has changed about the energy security to be gained through an important addition to the existing pipeline network built with sound environmental stewardship and the best modern
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technology. nothing has changed about the security to be gained from using more fuel produced at home and by close and stable ally. and nothing has changed about the need for america to remain a place where businesses still build things. we hope that you will follow through on your directive of march 22, 2012, to federal agencies to move forward vital energy infrastructure like keystone x.l. the state of nebraska is nearing completion of the new pipeline route within nebraska. with that process near completion, we look forward to an affirmative determination of national interest soon." that letter we sent to the president in november. a bipartisan letter, nine republican senators, nine democrat senators. to date we've received no direct response from the white house despite that there's clearly strong bipartisan support for the project. the only response we received was not from the white house, but rather from the state
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department. and let me read that letter, very short too. from david s. adams, assistant secretary of legislative affairs at the united states department of state. it says basically thank you for your november 16 letter to president obama concerning the status of the administration's review of trans-canada's new application for a presidential permit for the proposed keystone x.l. pipeline project. we have been asked to respond on behalf of the president. the letter goes through, yeah, we recognize it's an important project. we're looking at it. we're doing some more draft supplemental reviews and we hope that this information is helpful to you. please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of further assistance. so that's the extent of the response. so it's now been more than four and a half years since the permit applications were submitted to the state department for